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Shipping Your Car On A Freight Railroad
If you prefer to utilize the services of a industry related logistics company to move your equipment click here.
Shipping your car in freight service need not be a frustrating experience, if you keep the following tips in mind. But do remember that the freight railroads primary goal is to move large quantities of freight in a timely manner. Even 50 years ago it was not profitable for the railroads to move a single car although there were a lot more single car shippers. The primary concern of every freight railroad is to make sure they operate in a safe manner and to have each and every car on their train to be mechanically sound. As car owners, we want to make sure the movement of our cars are as problem free for the railroads as possible. If you follow the steps below it should assist in getting your car moved and help the railroad to make their job easier and safer:
1. The first step to shipping your passenger car in a freight move is to make sure you're car is structurally and mechanically sound. If your not sure about the condition of the car then it would be a good idea to have the car inspected by a Qualified Maintenance Person (QMP) before the railroad inspects it.
2. The second step is to make sure your car has curb appeal. If it is in sound mechanical & structural condition but looks like a wreck then the railroad may he hesitant to move the car. Make sure if any windows are broken to repair them or board them over with painted plywood. If the car has a serious paint (or lack of) problem it would be a good idea to spend the weekend with a roller and put on a fresh coat of cheap paint.
3. Make sure your COT&S is in date, all air hoses are current, COT&S dates are stenciled on each side in 2" letters (COT&S 00/00/0000, LOCATION, SHOPS REPORTING MARKS, SHOP LOCATION). Also if your car has non-rotating end cap bearings make sure they have been properly oiled or greased with AAR approved lubricant and the LUBE date is stenciled in 2" letters clearly on the side frame of the truck. Several of the class I's may also ask for bleed rods to be attached to your air brake valves.
4. Make sure the car has been entered in Umler and has the AEI tags properly installed. If the car has not been entered into Umler and if you're not sure about the position of the tags then contact the Railroad Passenger Car Numbering Bureau (a division of RPCA). Once the RPCNB has entered the car under the RPCX reporting marks make sure that the RPCX marks and the car number that was entered into Umler is stenciled clearly in at least 7" letters on each side of the car.
5. It will be helpful to have End Of Train Device brackets mounted on the buffer plate to eliminate problems if your car is on the end of the train. (see resource library for diagram). It is also a good idea to stencil the face of the buffers with "No Shelf Couplers" this will help prevent but not guarantee a shelf coupler from being coupled to you and bending the buffer, if possible it would be a good idea to remove the buffer. Also make sure the vestibule doors and traps are kept open on the hand brake end and make sure the hand brake inspection has been performed and the hand brake is stenciled in 2" letters HBK, INSP (date) (inspecting shop). Some other stencils you may want to apply to the car is "DO NOT HUMP', HAND BRAKE OTHER END, And on your brake cylinders you can stencil 6" piston travel for truck mounted cylinders & 12" piston travel for body mounted cylinders, be sure to post your contact info either in a large sign in a window or stencil on the side of the car and if you carry extra brake shoes in a storage box you may want to stencil "Extra brake shoes inside". If your car has steam connectors they will have to be removed or they will trip a dragging equipment detector. Also if you have a axle driven generator make sure your spicer drive is full of oil and it would be a good idea to remove the generator drive shaft.
6. Now it is time to call each railroad that will be handling the car during the movement, BUT it is not time to submit the billing to move the car. You will need to contact each railroad who will handle the car and request a rate quote. Make sure you mention that you need a rate quote for a railroad passenger car moving on it's own wheels. Be sure to write down the quote number they give you. If you don't have an account with the railroad(s) you will need to ask them how to prepay the move.
7. It's time to submit the billing to get the car moving. Most of the class I railroads now require that you submit the billing online. If your car has not been registered in the Umler system up to now you will need to call their customer service department, because they will have no record of the car being on their railroad. When you submit the billing make sure you reference your rate quote number so that you get billed the proper rate. Also make sure the car is listed for end of train placement. Once you submit the billing online the railroad will have their car inspector come out to inspect the car. If you can arrange to be there it is highly advisable. Please keep in mind that many of the railroad's car inspectors who were familiar with passenger cars have all retired. There ARE a few things that are applicable to freight cars that do not apply to passenger cars, passenger cars are not regulated by the freight car age limit for interchange. Don't forget it is their railroad and they only want to make sure they operate in a safe manner. You will gain no points by arguing with the car inspector.
8. Once the car is approved to move you can trace the car via the railroad's website. The railroads will not let you ride the car or come onto railroad property to follow the car. With the advances in the Umler system you can pretty much see what is going on with the car, where it is at and estimated time of delivery. It is highly advisable to check on it's status several times a day.
9. Be sure to download the Freight Railroad Handling Reference Card. If you run into a railroad employee who is not familiar with railroad passenger equipment it gives them the address to the Freight Railroad page of this site where they can find detailed information on moving passenger equipment in freight service.
If you have an updated contact person for a freight railroad please send contact to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Burlington Northern Santa Fe - Customer Service @ (888) 428-2673
Union Pacific Railroad - Customer Service @ (800) 272-8777
CSXT - UPDATED 1/4/2011
We have received an update from CSX regarding their current policy for shipping passenger equipment with non-rotating end cap bearings. The responsibility of protecting passenger car movements now comes under the Clearance Bureau. Most of the policies have not changes and and CSX can not approve regular train movement of non-rotating end cap bearings. It may be possible for a short one time move per discretion the Chief Operating Officer. There is no pre-clearance notification requirement, a CSX mechanical inspection is required and the Clearance Bureau must have a copy of the inspection form prior to movement. Shippers of passenger equipment must waybill their shipments through ShipCSX.com. The Clearance Bureau should receive advance notice of the move and they can be contacted at email@example.com or at (800) 581-5049
Webmaster Note: To find out if CSX will move your car please provide them with the car number, origin, destination, route and if the car has been inspected.
Norfolk Southern - Katy Peggs @ (404) 589-6857 (Contact for move prepayment)
Larry Dillon @ (404) 529-1762 ( Passenger car movements)
Customer Service @ (800) 635-5768
Canadian National - Customer Service @ (888)-668-4626
Canadian Pacific - Customer Service @ (877)-277-7283
Kansas City Southern - Customer
Service @ (800)-468-6527
Rail Move Northwest - (253)-383-2626. firstname.lastname@example.org (RPCA member)
Ozark Rail Logistics LLC - (513)-752-0211